State Bar Governor Melissa S. Ho

State Bar Governor Melissa S. Ho, Nov. 17, 2012

Here is some great news that involves a member of the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors.

Melissa Ho is an attorney at Polsinelli Shughart as well as a Bar Governor. Among her day’s already-long list of duties, she’s also committed to helping in numerous places in the community. (See my previous story about the inspiring words she delivered to teenaged participants in ASU’s Asian LEAD Academy.)

Today I share the news that Melissa was among a distinguished group of lawyers honored by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) on November 17 at a Washington DC event. She received one of the coveted 2012 Best Lawyers Under 40 Awards.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAs the organization describes it, “These awards recognize talented Asian Pacific American attorneys under the age of 40 who have achieved prominence in their respective areas of law while demonstrating an unwavering dedication to the APA community.”

The complete release is below. Congratulations to Melissa.

NAPABA Presents Special Awards at 24th Annual Convention in Washington, DC

Washington, DC – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) presented the 2012 NAPABA Trailblazer Awards, the 2012 Best Lawyers Under 40 Awards, and the 2012 NAPABA Affiliate of the Year Award during the 24th Annual NAPABA Convention in Washington, DC.

The 2012 Trailblazer Awards were presented on Friday, November 16, 2012, during a reception and awards ceremony hosted by Walmart. The Trailblazer Award, which is NAPABA’s highest honor, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity, and who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal profession, as well as the broader APA community. NAPABA is proud to present the 2012 Trailblazer Award winners:

  • Hon. Danette “Dee” Brown, California Office of Administrative Hearings (Eastern California Region)
  • Nicholas V. Chen, Pamir Law Group (Southeast Region)
  • Michael P. Chu, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione (Central Region)
  • Hon. Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California (Northern California)
  • Hon. Kimi Kondo, City of Seattle Municipal Court (Northwest Region)
  • Carol C. Lam, QUALCOMM (Southern California Region)
  • William F. Lee, WilmerHale (Northeast Region)
  • Hon. Kathryn Doi Todd, Second District Court of Appeals for the State of California (Central California Region)
  • Lawrence Tu, Dell Inc. (Southwest Region)

The 2012 Best Lawyers Under 40 Awards were presented at NAPABA’s Anniversary Gala and Celebration Dinner on November 17, 2012. These awards recognize talented Asian Pacific American attorneys under the age of 40 who have achieved prominence in their respective areas of law while demonstrating an unwavering dedication to the APA community. NAPABA congratulates the following 2012 Best Lawyers Under 40 Awards recipients:

  • Akemi Arakaki, LA County Superior Court, Central Juvenile District
  • Steve Choi, MinKwon Center for Community Action
  • James Derry, Arbitron, Inc.
  • Marita Etcubañez, Asian American Justice Center
  • Rio M. Guerrero, Guerrero Yee LLP
  • Mark Hanasono, LA County Alternate Public Defender
  • Melissa S. Ho, Polsinelli Shughart PC
  • Peggy L. Ho, LPL Financial
  • Laboni Hoq, Asian Pacific American Legal Center
  • Blossom Kan, MetLife, Inc.
  • Naho Kobayashi, McGuireWoods LLP
  • Nicole Kubista, Office of the Public Defender, St. Paul, MN
  • Jason Leung, Ridout & Maybee, LLP
  • Edward Lew, The Walt Disney Company
  • Tirzah Abe Lowe, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP
  • Samuel S. Park, Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Teena-Ann Sankoorikal, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
  • Jeannie Suk, Harvard Law School
  • Vinoo Varghese, Varghese & Associates P.C.
  • Carla Wong McMillian, State Court of Fayette County, GA
  • Calvin K. Woo, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP

This year, Christopher Kang, Senior Counsel to President Obama, was awarded the President’s Award for outstanding service to NAPABA and the legal community. Mr. Kang was honored for his dedication to NAPABA and his efforts to diversify the federal bench.

The 2012 Affiliate of the Year Award was presented to the Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento. This award was established to recognize outstanding local NAPABA affiliates and their best practices and accomplishments in their respective local communities.

NAPABA established the APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award to recognize NAPABA’s law firms—solo, small, and large—that have achieved prominence and distinction, and have demonstrated a strong commitment to the Asian Pacific American community. The Award celebrates law practices that embrace the APA community while maintaining the highest ethical and legal standards in our profession. The Award also recognizes firms that have advanced the goals and ideals of NAPABA and APA legal advocacy groups. The inaugural APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award was presented to Minami Tamaki LLP.

In the madcap schema that is Change of Venue Friday, today’s story fits like a glove. For today I share something that may be the farthest afield from law practice, and that still involves practicing lawyers.

Today’s topic is … moustaches.

Specifically, it’s about those men who grow moustaches in the month of November, and occasionally raise money during the growth period. And they do all of that in service to medical research.

Confused yet? Let me put it this way: These are the guys who transform November into Movember. Here is how the organizers describe it:

“During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.”

“Once registered at, men start Movember 1st clean shaven. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.”

“Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health. The funds raised in the US support prostate cancer and testicular cancer initiatives.”

The hair-lipped copy goes on to say that the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas often celebrate with a Movember party at the end of the month.

Local angle? Yes, we’ve got one. It comes to us from those dedicated and occasionally hairy lawyers at Polsinelli Shughart.

I heard from Polsinelli shareholder Leon Silver, who pointed me toward their dedicated team page.

Leon tells me that firm shareholder Brian Flaherty is a cancer survivor and participates every year. But for 2012, they decided to make it an office-wide event. Go to their page to view the leaderboard and read the crazy-comment ticker (which includes photos of the lawyers’ kids with moustaches). Congratulations to all who participated.

Moustaches, huh? I remember three years ago when I spent the better part of November writing a legal novel (a novel!), as part of the national NaNoWriMo effort. Meanwhile, other guys stop shaving for a month and they’re heroes. Whatever, Leon.

Because a terrific event deserves a video, enjoy the following one from Bloomberg Law. In honor of Movember, they feature famous legal faces that were moustachioed.

Have a great—and barbate—weekend.

I received news about an event to be held this coming Saturday. Here is the information, from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law:

The Arizona Law Review will present a free, one-day symposium exploring the nature of political dialogue in contentious times. The symposium is sponsored by the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart.

Guest scholars from across the country will explore the role of incivility in political discourse and whether there is a causal relationship between incivility and various kinds of harm, from physical violence to psychological harm, including subtle forms of discrimination.

Political Discourse, Civility and Harm

Saturday, January 14, 2012

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Room 156

James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona

1201 E. Speedway

Tucson, AZ

Bernard Harcourt

The program is free and open to the public, though reservations are required. Those wishing to attend may register by calling Alexis at 480-225-1879, or by e-mail at

Parking is available immediately north of the College, on Helen St. just off of Mountain, or in the UA parking garage at Park and Speedway. There is no charge for Saturday parking.

A panel of legal scholars known for their work in various dimensions of the field will engage in a panel discussion about their scholarship:

Margaret Jane Radin

Founded in 1959, the Arizona Law Review is a general-interest academic legal journal. The Review is edited and published quarterly by students of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. The Arizona Law Review covers wide-ranging topics of law and policy. Editor-In-Chief Alexis Danneman notes that, “We are thrilled to finally see to the civility conference happening. The conference has been the major endeavor of the Arizona Law Review over the past year. Many people and several organizations have contributed to this project, most notably Polsinelli Shughart. In recent years, Arizona has been in the center of the increasingly polarized national political discourse. We chose to organize this conference to foster legal thinking about the significance of this discourse on society.”

Kenji Yoshino

The symposium is funded in part by the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart and the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.

Lawyer Melissa Ho, center, following her keynote speech at the Asian LEAD Academy graduation. Also pictured: community supporter Claudia Kaercher (left) and program coordinator Norean Sablan

An educational event in late June exposed a group of young people to a variety of leadership possibilities. And an important part of that gathering was a peek into the world of courts and lawyers.

The Asian LEAD Academy at Arizona State University provides high school kids and incoming college freshmen the chance to learn in a wide range of areas. Much of the focus is instruction in the Asian American experience (though it is open to students of all ethnicities).

You can read more about it here and here.

Held the last two weeks of June, the academy culminated in a mock trial performed by the high school students. They spent days preparing their cases, and the resulting theater, staged at the Phoenix Municipal Court, was a terrific example of civic engagement by future leaders.

Kirstin Story

(I am compelled to confess my family’s involvement in the academy: My wife, an ASU associate professor, taught one of the seminars. And our 15-year-old daughter was a participant; she wrote and delivered the prosecution closing argument, and as long as I’m disclosing fully, she was phenomenal!)

As I see it, a significant benefit of the program is the exposure it affords young people to the legal profession. And in that regard, I have to tender kudos to a few people.

Kirstin Story is a lawyer at Lewis and Roca, and she gave days of her time preparing the students for the trial; it could never have happened without her.

Matthew Meaker

And Matthew Meaker is a Scottsdale lawyer with the Andante Law Group who served extremely well as the guest judge. He guided the youngsters and used many of the trial events, like objections, as teaching moments.

Finally, Melissa Ho delivered a rousing keynote address at the academy’s closing luncheon and graduation. The Polsinelli Shughart lawyer provided a refreshing antidote to the all-too-common perception that lawyers are unhappy with their work. Melissa—who also serves on the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors—explained the value of remaining connected with others who have shared your experience. And she invited any of the graduates to contact her in the future as they find their own path.

Congratulations, and thanks, to all the participants.

Melissa Ho

To see more photos, go to the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

Asian LEAD Mock Trial participants

Barb Dawson, Snell & Wilmer

Modern large-firm law practice has thrown a variety of challenges toward firms that want to excel and grow. One of the tools those firms use to grow their business and their market-share is networking—often on a global scale.

Organizations like Lex Mundi and Mackrell International allow and encourage interaction among lawyers globally. They also provide a great way to send legal work to lawyers in a score of localities.

Recently, those two groups have seen Arizona—Phoenix in particular—as a great spot to meet and re-energize.

In late March, Lex Mundi, in collaboration with the Association of Corporate Counsel, held a two-day event in and around Snell & Wilmer. Lex Mundi calls itself “the world’s leading association of independent law firms,” and Snell partner Barb Dawson is chair of its board of directors.

More information on the conference is here. And go here for some photos from the conference, posted on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

This coming week is Mackrell’s turn. Mackrell describes itself as “one of the world’s premier networks of independent legal firms.”

Hosted by Polsinelli Shughart (whose own Marty Harper is chair of the international network), the April-27-30 event will be held at the Arizona Biltmore.

Marty Harper, Polsinelli Shughart

More information on this week’s Mackrell event is here. And a press release from Polsinelli is below.

Polsinelli Shughart Welcomes Mackrell International for Annual General Meeting in Phoenix

Press Releases

April 22, 2011

When United States companies explore business opportunities beyond our borders, the need arises often for legal services abroad. An international conference, held in Phoenix, will explore cross-border relationships to help attorneys better serve the business community globally. More than 100 attorneys from Africa, the Asia Pacific Region, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and South America will be in Phoenix to attend the 2011 Mackrell International Annual General Meeting (AGM). In recent years, the AGM has previously been held in Sydney, Athens, Berlin, Istanbul, and Buenos Aires. This is the first time the AGM will be held in the in the United States in 12 years. The event will be held at the Arizona Biltmore from April 27 – April 30.

Polsinelli Shughart PC Shareholder Marty Harper, from the Phoenix office, is the chair of this international network of law firms that takes a “common sense” approach to conducting business internationally. Mayor Phil Gordon will welcome the international visitors, and discuss foreign investment opportunities in Phoenix and upward economic trends occurring in the Valley. The mayor will speak April 29 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 pm.

“We pride ourselves in being a global city, not only in our population, but in our business development,” said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. “Conversations such as these are important in assisting the world to recognize what our city and state can offer internationally. It is very exciting to be hosting more than 100 delegates from all over the world.”

In addition to Mayor Gordon, Polsinelli Shughart welcomes Dr. Angel Cabrera, president of Thunderbird Global School of Management. Dr. Cabrera will address trends in both the local and international economy, as well as discuss the legal issues impacting their specific regions and the potential for doing business in Arizona. His keynote address is April 28 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 pm.

In addition to Harper’s role as chair of Mackrell, Polsinelli Shughart has a growing international law practice to serve clients in Phoenix. The attorneys focus on high-profile litigation and complex business matters in a variety of practice areas and industries. Attorneys who have previously served as in-house counsel for national and international companies bring a unique perspective to several practice areas.

“We are honored to host our annual meeting here in Phoenix and showcase our great state,” said Harper. “Mackrell plays a critical role in assisting member firms to expand their geographic reach and connect clients to the very best legal representation around the world. The relationships built by Mackrell members at these regional meetings create a strong network of mid-sized firms, establishing a presence across geographies and practice areas, which ultimately benefit the clients they serve.”

Mackrell International, with 80 law firm members in 55 countries, brings together over 4,000 lawyers from independent law firms through its various actions. The AGM is the culmination of the work that happens globally all year.

“We are very proud that the largest-ever gathering of Mackrell International delegates would take place at the initiative of Polsinelli Shughart and particularly as Marty Harper comes to the end of his period as chair of our network,” said Mackrell International Managing Director Clive Miéville. “We are delighted to be here!”

Reporters will be able to find story ideas about the following topics:

• Phoenix as an international destination for business
• The realities of Phoenix businesses conducting business internationally
• Differences and similarities of lawyers in America versus other countries
• Phoenix attorney Marty Harper who serves as the chair of Mackrell can speak on the importance of global business relationships and help provide international attorneys for media interviews

Note to editors: Media interested in attending should contact Molly Edwards at or via phone at 602.650-2338.

About Polsinelli Shughart PC

With more than 530 attorneys, Polsinelli Shughart PC ( is a national law firm that is a recognized leader in the areas of business law, financial services, real estate and business litigation. Serving corporate, institutional and individual clients, Polsinelli Shughart is redefining the business of law by sharing ideas, goals and outcomes with its clients. The firm builds enduring relationships by creating value through legal services – with passion, ingenuity and a sense of urgency. The firm has offices located in Kansas City; St. Louis; Phoenix; Chicago; Denver; Washington, D.C.; New York; Wilmington, Del.; Overland Park, Kan.; St. Joseph, Springfield, and Jefferson City, Mo.; Topeka, Kan.; and Edwardsville, Ill.

About Mackrell International
Mackrell International ( is one of the world’s premier networks of independent legal firms. Membership enables our members to provide their clients with legal services at home and abroad. With member firms in 51 countries, Mackrell International gives clients access to 4,000 lawyers worldwide providing a seamless legal service wherever the client needs it.
The organization has increased its representation by 35% in the last three years by adding new firms to our network, particularly in Eastern Europe and in both North and South America. Expansion continues in the Middle East – Israel and Dubai are now on board – and representation is growing in other key areas of the world, such as Africa and Central America.